8 Great Cartoons You AREN’T Watching! (Part 1)- CWAR!
During the 2015 Oscars telecast, the writers of the Academy Awards decided to let fall through the cracks a bad piece of wording for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to deliver live for over 30 million people. “Animation is one of the best genres”
I’m going to save you a tirade because Amid Amidi over at Cartoon Brew expressed the idiocy behind that statement and you can find out more about that here. But as an animator, and lover of animation, I want to share that with the world. The only limit of animation is your imagination and your skill level. Anything is possible and because of that, I will always hold it in high regard as one of the best mediums of storytelling.
And with that I welcome you to Cartoons with a Robot. A daily look at animation. Sometimes it’ll be a list, like this one. Other times it’ll be a movie review, or a tv show recommendation, or a link to a cool animated short I found while perusing the blogs as I wait for the N train to drag me to Queens. But what you can’t expect is to not see animation have a place with the Fanbros. So let’s get started!
In the age of streaming, content is readily available from many different sources. And with so much content being created so quickly, a lot of it is expected to get lost as we DVR our favorite episodes of popular television. But we’re not here to talk about the popular shows, they’re force fed to us through unrelenting marketing every single day. Today we’re going to focus on the unsung heroes of animation. The great shows that are often overlooked in the rat race of animated television programming. These shows are just as great but for some reason they don’t catch fire as quickly as their peers do. So sit back, relax, and get ready for 8 new shows to add to your ‘must watch’ list.
Ben Bocquelet’s first animated series wasn’t initially destined to sit among the likes of Adventure Time, but it fits right in. The series was initially conceived as a group of reject cartoon characters attending a remedial school. It was pitched to Adult Swim but, like his characters, was rejected for being too sad. So he reworked the idea into a sitcom with a more upbeat tone. And thus The Amazing World Of Gumball was born. The series takes place in the fictional town of Elmore, a surreal place where absolutely anything can happen without explanation. Gumball, a blue cat, navigates the world of Elmore with his best friend and adopted fish brother, Darwin.
Characters exist with different design aesthetics and animation techniques but the story places them all within this cooky comedic world. It’s heavy on humor and light on logic, which is an easy escape from the fast paced grim reality of our world. It recently started it’s 3rd season and continues to get rave reviews for it’s imaginative storytelling and first rate animation. The Amazing World of Gumball can be found on Cartoon Network and CartoonNetwork.com
I was hesitant to place Axe Cop on this list, as it started off as a web comic by artist then 29 year old Ethan Nicolle and then 5 year old Malachai Nicolle. The popularity of the webcomic led to youtube channel Rugburn creating a motion comic which quickly went viral for it’s commitment to absurd storytelling. Eventually the motion comic was developed into a fully fledged animated series by ADHD Studios.
Axe Cop tells the story of a cop who found a magic axe at the scene of a fire and was inspired to become a superhero. Along with his partner Flute Cop, and a cavalcade of other weird characters, Axe Cop delivers his brand of infallible justice. The two definitive features of Axe Cop are his intense mustache and his always worn sunglasses. With a design like that the only actor able to deliver deadpan lines for a Cop with such blind machismo is Nick Offerman. The story was initially developed by a 5 year old boy, you could imagine that it would rely on campy gags to balance the unwavering dedication to the idea of a hero(in the eyes of 5 year old’s imagination.) But even in all of the silliness of the situations presented on Axe Cop, it still commits to being an action show first. Axe Cop is a kid’s action show for adults, and a damn good one at that. Axe Cop airs on the ADHD block of FXX.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Gravity Falls. And if you haven’t, then listen up. Conspiracy theory plots in animation tend to be relegated to that token character who’s trying to convince everyone else of some insane theory that isn’t true. Now if the conspiracy is the entire plot of the show, and ever changing at that, where does that leave your characters? In Gravity Falls of course! The stars of Gravity Falls are twins Dipper & Mabel Pines, and their eccentric money grubbing Great Uncle(affectionately referred to as ‘Gruncle’) Stan. Dipper and Mabel have been sent to reside with their Gruncle Stan during their summer break from school. Though what starts out as a summer of fun in the woods of Northwest America for the twins, quickly turns into a budding conspiracy as they experience the oddities of Gravity Falls.
From living lawn gnomes, to video game characters coming to life, to time traveling pigs, and future super babies. Gravity Falls‘ supernatural element is the driving force behind the show. One of the shining accomplishments of the writers of Gravity Falls is detail behind the continuity they’ve established. From episode one storytelling seeds are planted that flourish 10, maybe 20 episodes later. And like many creators of his generation, Alex Hirsh has no problem paying homage to material that inspired his work. Gravity Falls is a feast for the eyes and a feast for your funny bone. You can find it on the Disney Channel, & Disney XD.
Back in October of 2014 at New York Comic-Con, our grand duchess of tech, Tatiana King-Jones had the chance to talk to Mike Tyson about his then upcoming animated series. (Which you can catch here on FanBros TV.) We had only seen clips of the show so we weren’t sure what to make of it just yet, but we knew we’d happily give it a chance once it hit the airwaves of Adult Swim. The series just finished it’s first season run and to say it’s worthy of your time would be an understatement.
Mike Tyson Mysteries features a rather unique cast of characters; of course led by a fictionalized version of retired boxer Mike Tyson, his adopted daughter Yung Hee Tyson, a talking pigeon, and the Marquees of Queensbury, who is a ghost. You’d think with such an array of characters that Mike Tyson himself would get outshined by his fellow castmembers. But the true star of Mike Tyson Mysteries is Mike Tyson himself. Let’s all be honest for a second and admit that Mike Tyson is nobody’s actor. However his inexperience as an actor allows him to deliver his lines pretty earnestly, which makes this fictional version of Mike all the more lovable. With animation quality matching that of it’s Adult Swim peer Venture Brothers, I expect to see Mike Tyson Mysteries on the lineup for as many years as Mike Tyson feels like lending his voice to the series.
And thus concludes part one of 8 great cartoons you aren’t watching. Did I miss anything? Should I have shouted out something else that isn’t getting the shine it deserves? Tell me how you feel in the comments below. And check the FanBros Show podcast every week on iTunes, Soundcloud & Stitcher!